2 Timothy 2:1-7
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs– he wants to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
There are two applications for this particular verse about farmers and crops. The first is an application about disciples of Jesus and the expectations of being a good disciple. The other application has to do with people who are working full-time for the Gospel and how they should be paid. As a full-time evangelist, this makes sense for Paul and Timothy to talk about. It is the first application that we are focusing on today.
The key word in this verse is the word “hardworking.” I hope it makes sense that only a farmer who works the land, toils the field, keeps equipment working is a farmer that has a crop to harvest. The principle is that hard work in the ground produces a harvest. We see this principle not just here, but in other passages as well.
Genesis 3:17-19 says, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Since sin entered into the world, farming is a hard task. The ground does not always cooperate. The weather is not always conducive to growing. Most of the time hard work brings harvest.
Proverbs 20:4 says, “A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.” Again, the Bible tells us that planning, working the ground, and planting seeds produces a crop. In Proverbs, King Solomon points out that if you do nothing, you get nothing. That principle is true in many aspects of life:
Finance: A person that invests nothing gets a goose egg and not a nest egg.
Family: A family that ignores each other ends up being strangers.
Work: A person who does not work diligently will be fired and have no job.
Sports: A person who does not practice will lose every game or be cut from the team.
Diet: A person who eats what they want and does not exercise will lose no weight.
Farming: A farmer who does nothing with the land will go out at harvest time and find empty fields.
Being a Christian is not just floating through life with God working for us. Rather, it is us working for God. It is possible to have the attitude, “I’ve become a Christian in order to get God to bless me, and work for me. If he doesn’t do it the way I want, I’m out.” That is the very attitude the Apostle Paul is warning against. Being a Christian takes a lifetime of faithfulness. A Christian is called upon to reprogram the computers of our mind to think differently than the world. That is not accomplished easily. It takes hours of reading the Bible and studying the Bible, until you see life the way God sees it.